The Pain Handbook by Dr. Rajat Chauhan

Dr. Rajat Chauhan is a respected figure amongst the Indian running community, and the wider, international community of ultra-runners. A doctor who runs ultra-marathons. A specialist in pain management who has conceptualised and organized one of the world’s toughest ultra marathons, the high altitude “La Ultra” in the Indian Himalayas.

But more than anything else, Dr. Chauhan is respected as a man who speaks his mind candidly, and who believes firmly in plain-speaking and no-nonsense explanations.

Dr. Chauhan’s book “The Pain Handbook, A non-surgical way to managing back, neck and knee pain” is a master class in the art of his famed plain-speaking, and throughout this excellent and very readable book, the author strives to explain medical issues in the simplest lay-person-friendly terms.

Dr. Chauhan is a firm believer in the importance of people taking control of their own lives and their own bodies, and of investing in their own health, and not just passively accepting what a doctor says.

In the opening pages of this book, he makes the point forcibly:

“You need this book because you or your loved ones are suffering from pain. Stop outsourcing your problems. You need to solve them yourself. I will help you do it, but you have to participate proactively…It’s your job to be better informed rather than blaming the “experts” years later.”

There you have it: the good doctor’s mission statement. He will help. But you the reader/patient have to participate proactively.

Throughout his book, Dr. Chauhan exhorts his readers to question the doctors they consult, to think, to inform themselves, and above all to move, and to keep moving:

“To do justice to your body, you owe it to yourself to understand it better. It is of no interest to any other party to educate you. It is a waste of time for them.

What’s in it for the healthcare industry to educate you better and reduce their revenues? So, the onus is on you. It’s your body. Know it better.”

Through an entertaining combination of medical information, a little history, case studies and illustrated exercises, Dr. Chauhan tackles three areas of injury and pain management that especially concern him – the back, the neck and the knee.

Our increasingly computer-driven lifestyle, our penchant for video games over outside games, our reluctance to exercise and keep fit, these are the evils of modern society which the author wants us to be aware of and to learn how to handle them.

For the author, moving is a mantra, as is consciously taking control of one’s body and, if needs be, the pain that has possibly driven you to read this book. We need to move our bodies, and we need to be able to articulate our pain and fears:

“You aren’t born a piece of furniture. You moved to be born and you were born to move. More importantly, you can feel and think. There is something that initiates your movement…When you start looking at yourself as a piece of furniture, you cannot blame the doctors for doing the same. You have ceased to exist as an intelligent human being who moves and has feelings, too.”

This book is a great read – the furthest thing from a dry medical handbook you could ever imagine. It is lively, thought-provoking, full of advice and exercises, and above all, it is easy to read. Never once does the author try and blind us with science. Rather he speaks in a friendly, down-to-earth way, admonishing us a little, but always ready with pointers and advice.

For anyone who has had an injury, or who wishes to be better informed about their body, and the need to exercise and keep potential injuries at bay, this book is a must-read.

And now, if you want to order this excellent book, nothing could be easier.  Simply click on the link below:

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

Had I heard of the book and/or Robert Galbraith before the latter was unmasked as J.K.Rowling?

No.

Did I read “The Cuckoo’s Calling” because of the above ?

Yes.

Is it a good read, regardless of who wrote it?

Yes, yes and yes.

As a non Harry Potter fan (I read the first tome years ago out of a sense of duty, and that was it.  Just couldn’t hack the others) I didn’t approach “The Cuckoo’s Calling”  – as some people seem to have done – out to find as many clues as possible that, yes, well, obviously, now you mention it, of course it must have been written by J.K.Rowling.

I read it as a stand alone novel that caught my fancy (because of the author thing, obviously) and it is a great, wonderful read.

I think (and hope and pray) that we might just have here the emergence of a fab new detective (and his indomitable sidekick) in the form of Cormoran Strike and the wonderful, so young but oh-so-wise Robin Ellacott.  In other words, Ms Rowling, please, please write a new adventure, and soon.

Mr. Strike is, on the face of it, an unlikely hero.  Overweight, one-legged, down on his luck. He drinks too much, smokes too much, wears crumpled clothes and is in a toxic relationship.

He is 100% human, basically, and that is why you relate to him immediately.  A clumsy, flawed man whose heart is in the right place, who is intuitively clever with cold facts but pretty lousy with those people who care for him the most –  what is not to like and love about the shambling Cormoran?  Plus brainy  = sexy.

Young Yorkshire born (yaay!!) Robin is cool perfection personified, and what I wouldn’t give to have her run and organise my life, the way she organises Cormoran Strike, her supposedly temp boss.

Since this is a crime thriller, I will not spoil the plot.  Worry not.

Suffice it to say that “The Cuckoo’s Calling” is a page turner of note, and that the city of London is more than just a scenic backdrop to the action.  London is fabulously evoked, in all her endlessly dug up roads and traffic jams and noise.  The flaky fashionistas who people the book, the down on their luck characters who wander in and out of the narrative, the cocky cops –  they are all brilliantly depicted.

Loved the book.  Can’t wait for the next one, in what I do hope will become a series.

Jut one teeny weeny quibble.  Not wild about the title.

I read “The Cuckoo’s Calling” on my Kindle (while camping at 5000+metres in the Himalayas, if you must know).

Published in April 2013.

 

If you wish to read the book now, after reading my review, couldn’t be simpler.  Just click on any of the links below: